AUSTIN (Sports Network) – Three Texas Longhorns, including leading scorer Jordan Hamilton, have chosen to become eligible for the 2011 NBA Draft.
Hamilton, a sophomore swingman who averaged 18.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game last season, will hire and agent and forego his final two seasons at the school.
“I want to thank everyone at The University of Texas, especially the fans, for all of their support over the last two years,” Hamilton said. “I have really grown as a person. My family and I really took our time with this decision and waited to get a good feel of what this year’s draft class would look like and where I can be drafted. With all the information we received, it is best for me to move forward now and pursue this opportunity. I will finish my spring semester classes and will always be a Longhorn.”
Also putting their names in the hat for the NBA are freshman forward/center Tristan Thompson and freshman guard Cory Joseph. Both will submit their names for the draft, but will not hire an agent, thus leaving open the possibility of returning to school.
Thompson was Texas’ second-leading scorer during the 2010-11 season, averaging 13.1 points with a team-best 7.8 rebounds in 36 games. He also led the squad with 86 blocked shots.
“This was a difficult decision, but it was the best decision for myself and my family,” Thompson said. “I will continue to go to class and complete the spring semester here at Texas. I will continue to gather all the information about my draft status and use that information over the next two weeks to determine whether or not to keep my name in the draft.”
A first-team All-Freshman as voted by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, the 6-foot-8 Thompson was second in the Big 12 in rebounding and led the conference with an average of 3.8 offensive boards per game.
Joseph led the team in assists with 3.0 per game, steals (37) and three-point field goal percentage (.413), and tied for fourth in scoring at 10.4 per contest.
“I want to use this two-week period of time to get a better feel of what my draft status would be this year,” Joseph said. “I will finish my classes here, hopefully go through some workouts for NBA teams and personnel and use feedback from those workouts to make the best decision.”
Thompson and Joseph would become the third and fourth freshmen to leave Texas after just one year in the past five seasons, joining Kevin Durant and Avery Bradley.
The deadline to apply for early-entry to the NBA Draft is Sunday. If Thompson declares and does not hire an agent, he would be eligible to return to school if he withdraws from the draft by May 8. The draft is June 23.